"Sakuntala & the Ring of Recollection" Summary

by Robert Godard

"Sakuntala and the Ring of Recollection" is a play written by Kalidasa in Sanskrit in the 4th century. It is thought to be based on actual events that occurred hundreds of years before Kalidasa wrote them down. Kalidasa, an Indian dramatist and poet, took many liberties with the story, though the core of the narrative is traditionally thought of as historical.


The story focuses on Sakuntala, who is a sweet and innocent, but very naive, girl. She meets King Dushyanta who is bold and known all over his land. The two of them are the primary protagonists in the story, and the tale focuses on the love between them. They are joined by the evil antagonist Durvasa the sage; he is narcissistic and vengeful, and ultimately places a curse on Sakuntala.

The Marriage

The play opens with King Dushyanta going for a hunt in the woods. He is stopped by a monk, and then stumbles upon Sankuntala , instantly becoming entranced with her beauty and maturity. He reveals himself to Sankuntala and her friends, but conceals his true identity as king to see if Sankuntala would be right for him. He soon finds that she is, and eventually reveals who he is and asks her to marry him. A small wedding is held in the woods with only close friends in attendance.

The Curse

King Dushyanta gives Sankuntala a ring and says that he must depart for the capital, but promises that there will be a more elaborate ceremony when he returns. After the wedding, all that Sankuntala can think about is her new husband. She is soon visited by the sage Durvasa, but she is too preoccupied with thoughts of Dushyanta to pay him any attention. Enraged with her actions, he places a curse on her: Dushayanta will forget who she is until he sees the ring he gave her.

Conflict and Resolution

Sankuntala travels to the royal court to visit Dushyanta and show him the ring. When she arrives, however, she realizes that she has lost her ring, which must have fallen in the river. Dushyanta, cursed, has no idea who she is. Sankuntala gives birth to a baby who looks just like the king some months later, but Dushyanta is distressed that he will never know who Sankuntala is. Finally, a fisherman finds the ring and Sankuntala and Dushyanta are happily reunited.

About the Author

Robert Godard began writing in 2007 for various creative blogs and academic publications. He has been featured on multiple film blogs and has worked in the film industry. He attended Baltimore College, earning his B.A. in history.

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